Football is just like life; sometimes the highest highs instantly turn into the lowest lows.
Such was the case with the Michigan State football program this past weekend.
After one of the gutsiest play calls you will ever see—a fake field goal call in overtime to win the game against the rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish—everyone in green and white paused when they heard the news about that same coach who made the game-winning play call.
Mark Dantonio suffered a minor heart attack early Sunday morning, but thankfully is expected to make a full recovery. He is out indefinitely as head coach, and offensive coordinator Don Treadwell will take the reigns of the football program in Dantonio’s absence.
Here is a statement from Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis:
"This is a time for Spartan Nation to rally around Coach D and the football program," Hollis said. "We all look forward to his return to the sidelines. The thoughts of the entire Spartan family are with Coach D, his wife Becky and his daughters Kristen and Lauren."
Dantonio also received warm wishes from Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, and Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
It was a shocking revelation for not only Spartan fans, but also fans of sports around the country. Some people treat sports as if they are the end-all, be-all, but the fact of the matter is that any health concern is far and above everything else in life.
Now, it is up to Treadwell to lead the team and be the motivator, although it shouldn’t be too difficult for him.
Treadwell has been in East Lansing since 2000, when Bobby Williams was the head coach. He has been with numerous coaches and has coached different positions and units, so he should fit right in as the new man in charge.
There is no reason to rush Dantonio back as the Spartans play Northern Colorado this upcoming Saturday.
The week after will be the Spartans’ biggest test thus far, opening the Big Ten season against a good Wisconsin team. You have to think Dantonio is itching to return by that game.
For now, everyone just needs to be thankful and look at the big picture in relation to sports and everyday life. Dantonio was getting all the praise after Saturday night’s outcome on the gridiron, but beating a heart attack was his biggest victory.